After yesterday’s diversion into exotic beer country, today we crash land on terra firma with what can only be described as an old-school brew. The success of New World hops, which have come to dominate the new wave of craft beers, has been something of a double-edged sword for UK hop growers. Whilst focusing drinker’s attention on the merits of hops, it has left traditional varieties struggling to compete. Now there are many fine varieties of British hops and the British Hop Association has a strategy to try and publicise the merits of each regional variety. Step forward Tesco.
This beer is brewed by Shepherd Neame who are, if that’s the correct term, the champions of East Kent Goldings. Some people say they’re the champions of producing twig beer, but I’d never repeat that here. The beer is 4.5% and comes in a 500ml bottle which, rather surprisingly, is clear. That’s really a no-no, so points deducted for that. It poured light copper with little carbonation and a thin off-white head that quickly died off. Aroma was soft caramel and toffee with a slight spicy undertone. Taste was a little bit earthy: slight floral and gently spiced malt. Typical Shepherd Neame, really.
Tyson says: Although there are many fine varieties of British hops, East Kent Goldings aren’t one of them. Not on this showing anyway. A rather insipid beer that might be a good present for your Uncle George, but is unlikely to win over many people who are looking to explore and understand just what hops do for a beer.